Neuropathic pain arises as a consequence of a disease or lesion in the somatosensory nervous system (IASP definition). Neuropathic pain is common, affecting 8% of the population (Bouhassira et al., 2008, Torrance et al., 2006), and will present a rising health burden in the future. Neuropathic pain results in significant morbidity, reduces quality of life and has a major deleterious impact on health in aging. However, not everyone with such a lesion develops significant neuropathic pain, and those who do develop it include a wide range of severity, impact and outcomes, and an unpredictable response to evidence-based treatment. This variation in pain prevalence and severity involves a complex interaction between genetics, environmental and clinical factors in a vulnerable individual (von Hehn et al., 2012).
The exact nature of risk factors for neuropathic pain and their interaction are currently poorly understood and will be the focus of the project “DOLORisk: Understanding risk factors and determinants for neuropathic pain”. Identifying these risk factors will have a significant impact on health both in identifying vulnerable patients and potential for developing new treatment modalities.